A new report from the Commonwealth Fund details what states will lose if they don’t expand Medicaid coverage. The Affordable Care Act made Medicaid available to adults between the ages of 19 and 64 who have incomes of less than 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level ($15,856 for an individual, and $32,499 for a family of four). A Supreme Court decision in July 2012 made that expansion optional for states. Twenty-four
states, including Nebraska, have not yet opted to expand Medicaid.
But the Commonwealth Fund found that no state will experience a positive flow of funds if it chooses not to expand Medicaid. In fact, because the federal government will pick up the entire cost of expansion until 2016 (and after that will never pay less than 90 percent of the costs), states stand to lose a considerable amount of money.
Nebraska stands to lose $738 million without Medicaid expansion, and that doesn’t take into account the human cost for those who will continue to go without quality, affordable health care.
Here in Nebraska, we pride ourselves on making good decisions that strengthen our economy, and our communities. Expanding Medicaid means we all win.